Diseases in India
India is a sub-continent in Southern Asia that boasts the second largest population in the world following China, with roughly 17 percent of the world’s population. India plays a vital role in multiple international organizations including the U.N., World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). While India has sustained large economic growth—up to 10 percent annually—and a GDP amounting to roughly $1.6 billion, not everyone has reaped the benefits of these feats. India ranks as one of the poorest nations in the world with approximately 68.8 percent of its citizens living in poverty—that is over 800 million people. A life of poverty for these citizens hastens the spread of diseases that inevitably lead to chronic impairment or death. These are the top eight diseases in India.

Top 8 Diseases in India

  1. Ischemic Heart Disease – Commonly referred to as coronary artery disease (CAD), this condition is the number one cause of death in India. Independent groups such as the Indian Heart Association work to raise awareness of the issue through cardiac screenings and informational sessions. Indian dietary habits can be poor with many foods involving butter, grease and fatty foods. This is especially true for poorer segments of the population where this type of food is cheaper and easily accessible. From 2007 to 2017, there was an approximate 49.8 percent increase in the number of deaths in India caused by ischemic heart disease.
  2. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – People primarily contract this disease through smoking, second-hand smoking and fume inhalation. Roughly 30 million Indians suffer from a moderate or severe form of COPD. Early detection of COPD can lead to successful treatment and survival of the patient. Factory pollution in India is rampant and the use of cigarettes is all too common, especially among poorer sections of the population. The impoverished have limited access to medical clinics with 56 percent of the population lacking health care, and thus, unable to get adequate treatment for COPD.
  3. Diarrheal Diseases – Diarrheal diseases account for a significant portion of childhood mortality in India. It is the third leading cause of childhood mortality and studies have correlated this to hygiene, malnutrition, improper sanitation and an impoverished upbringing. A lack of affordable care and education for families will lead to further prominence of diarrheal diseases in Indian society. Currently, the U.S. Agency for International Development is working to implement effective and affordable solutions to counteract sanitary related diseases in India.
  4. Lower Respiratory Infections – Respiratory infections such as influenza, pneumonia and bronchitis are all diseases that harm lung function in the body. Indians are extremely susceptible to these due to the high concentration of air pollution throughout the country, especially in poor rural and urban areas. In 2018, 14 out of 15 of the most polluted cities in the world were in India according to the World Health Organization. Further, air pollution also led to roughly 1.24 million deaths in India over the course of 2015.
  5. Tuberculosis – In 2016, there were 2.8 million reported cases of TB and about 450,000 deaths. This disease is rampant among the impoverished in India because there is not a sufficient amount of clinics and professionals to resolve the issue. The vaccine for tuberculosis is not accessible for Indians in the poor parts of the nation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to eradicate tuberculosis by 2025. Through a $1 million partnership with USAID, India hopes to strengthen the detection and treatment of tuberculosis.
  6. Neonatal Disorders – While incidences of neonatal disorders in India have decreased from 52 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 28 per 1,000 in 2013, this is not an indicator of sustainable progression in India. The truth of the matter is that neonatal decline simply boosted the infant mortality rate because of a brief time-lapse in the survival of the newborn. In India, one can attribute neonatal deaths to asphyxia, pneumonia, sepsis, meningitis, tetanus and an array of other preterm abnormalities. Further, studies show that there is an inverse correlation between socioeconomic status and neonatal deaths. In impoverished rural parts of the country, the neonatal mortality rate is 31 per 1,000 live births whereas it is 15 per 1,000 live births in urban parts of the nation.
  7. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) – Contrary to popular belief, CKD impacts lower-income countries as well as developed ones. In more developed countries, individuals are able to get access to life-saving treatments. Lower-income nations and portions of nations do not share the same luxury. Scientists predict that there will be 7.63 million deaths from CKD in India in 2020; this is up from the 3.78 million CKD deaths in 1990. The poor in India do not have the finances to receive transplants or the means to attend a reputable hospital.
  8. Tumors – Accounting for 9.4 percent of deaths in India, tumors are the product of pathogens and the buildup of harmful germs in the human body. While not extremely common, these tumors are affecting young and middle-age individuals at an alarming rate. Tumors are also root identifiers of cancer. In the last 26 years, the cancer rate in India has doubled and caused significant economic loss, exemplified by a $6.7 billion loss in 2012. Breast cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer and oral cancer are extremely prominent in the nation. The costs of treatment are not attainable for all of the affected and thus cause an increase in mortality. India aims to increase the number of physicians and centers for treatment and research through a $20 million initiative. Nongovernmental organizations are also working to raise awareness and supporting early detection methods across the nation.

Since its independence in 1947, India became one of the strongest nations on the planet. With an unprecedented economic boom, India is an emerging global superpower. Despite India’s successes, it is still lagging behind many western countries in its accessibility to medicine, medical facilities and equal wealth distribution.

The top eight diseases in India are pressing problems the nation can resolve through adequate reform. While the situation may appear hopeless, India is taking strides forward to ensure that each citizen lives a prosperous and meaningful life. Technological advances such as new surgical techniques and radiotherapy equipment continue to help counteract malignant tumors and potent cancers. Furthermore, the Indian government has enacted the National Clean Air Plan to reduce air pollution by 20 to 30 percent by 2024. This has prompted individual cities throughout the nation to limit their carbon output through the use of more efficient technologies and stricter regulations. India can continue to thrive as a global economic power while working to resolve its internal problems.

– Jai Shah
Photo: Flickr

Common Diseases in Luxembourg

Sandwiched between France and Germany, the small nation of Luxembourg is home to nearly 600,000 citizens. Health for the Luxembourgish people is mostly moderate, straying from the norms of Europe very little. However, common diseases in Luxembourg still take their toll on the population, and are more than attention-worthy.

A World Health Organization (WHO) report from 2004 begins by asserting that boys and girls born in Luxembourg can expect to live as long as any other child in Europe. In other words, the life-expectancy averages are very close. The report also notes that Luxembourg’s first-year-of-life mortality rate is among the lowest in Europe.

Common diseases in Luxembourg, as of the 2004 report, include noncommunicable diseases like heart disease, cancer, and cerebrovascular disease.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, cerebrovascular disease refers to diseases in which part of the brain is affected by irregular blood flow (“cerebro” meaning “of the large part of the brain” and “vascular” meaning “of the arteries and veins”).

Of these diseases, ischemic stroke is the most common, and occurs when a blockage prevents blood flow to the brain. Victims of this type of attack can usually expect to feel dizzy or nauseated, can feel confused, have abnormal speech, loss of vision, and even experience unusually severe headaches.

Women in particular struggle the most with cerebrovascular diseases in Luxembourg; in fact, women “die from this cause twice as often between 25 and 64 years as women in [the rest of Europe].”

Contributors to cerebrovascular disease include unpreventable circumstances, like age, as well as things that can at least be somewhat controlled, like high blood pressure and smoking. One-third of Luxembourg men and one-fourth of women smoke, one of the highest rates in Europe.

However, cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death in Luxembourg.

The American Heart Association states that the most common effect of cardiovascular disease is a heart attack. This occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow to part of the heart. If this obstruction blocks blood flow completely, the part of the heart muscle which the artery connects to will begin to die.

Other types of cardiovascular disease include arrhythmia (irregular rhythm of the heart) and heart failure (when the heart cannot pump enough blood).

The current numbers show signs of improvement against the common diseases in Luxembourg. As of 2015, more than ten years later, health has improved in the small European nation. Life expectancy has jumped up to 80 in men and 84 in women, an increase of a few years each.

Cerebrovascular disease has also fallen off, dropping below Alzheimer’s disease, seeing a 25.4 percent decrease between 2005 and 2015. Ischemic heart disease has also seen an improvement, dropping by 22.5 percent in the same time frame.

Stephen Praytor

Photo: Google

Common Diseases in AndorraAndorra is one of the smallest countries in Europe, residing between the French and Spanish borders. In recent years, Andorra has become a tourist destination, drawing in more than eight million visitors every year. This tourism is due to the country’s winter sports, a summer climate and an international commercial center for shopping. For the people who live in Andorra, preventable disease acts as one of their leading causes of death. Below are some of the most common diseases in Andorra:

Ischemic Heart Disease
One of the most common diseases in Andorra is ischemic heart disease (IHD). IHD occurs when blood flow is restricted in the body and arteries in the heart become narrowed. When heart arteries are narrowed, the victims of this disease have less blood transported to the heart and can ultimately lead to a heart attack.

About 22 percent of Andorrans suffer from IHD, and it is the leading preventable cause of death in Andorra. The disease has become more prevalent in recent years due to increased economic prosperity, allowing people to live a more sedentary lifestyle. In fact, there has been a 43 percent increase in the past twenty years of the occurrence of IHD.

Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the third most common disease in Andorra. The disease is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that start off in the lungs and has the potential to spread to other regions of the body. This spread can compromise other organs in the body, leading to death. Currently, six percent of Andorrans suffer from lung cancer, which is a 36 percent increase from when it was last measured in 1990.

Andorra suffers from this disease due to preventable actions. About 44 percent of males and 28 percent of females in Andorra smoke tobacco products on a regular basis, which is one of the leading causes of lung cancer. Even though the knowledge about the dangers of this disease are well-documented and known throughout the country, many individuals do not take the proper actions to avoid lung cancer.

Due to the economic prosperity of Andorra, food is easily available in the country, often leading to diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that affects a person’s ability to produce or use insulin. This inability to use insulin can cause a surplus of blood sugar in the body. Prolonged exposure to increased levels of blood sugar causes a person suffering from diabetes to risk getting kidney disease, heart disease and blindness.

Currently, three percent of Andorrans suffer from diabetes. Similarly to lung cancer, although many know of the risks associated with diabetes, many individuals do not take the proper actions to avoid the disease.

The most common diseases in Andorra are also the most preventable ones. Proper diet, exercise and the avoidance of intoxicants are one method that an individual can avoid a higher chance of getting any of the above illnesses. Although the information on these diseases is well known, many in Andorra have not taken steps to avoid them.

Nicholas Beauchamp

Photo: Flickr

Common Diseases in BruneiBrunei is a country in Southeastern Asia that borders the South China Sea and Malaysia. The country used to be a British colony until 1984, when one family took control of the nation from the British military. That family has maintained control of the country to this day and has also maintained the country’s status of having one of the highest per capita GDP in the world. Despite its high GDP, the country still suffers from many harmful diseases. The purpose of this article is to discuss a few of the most common diseases in Brunei.

Ischemic Heart Disease

Ischemic heart disease (IHD) is the most common disease in Brunei. When last measured in 2015, about 31.2 percent of people in Brunei suffered from this illness. IHD is a disease which decreases the flow of blood to the heart as a result of restricted arteries leading to the organ. This disease can cause severe chest pain and eventually heart attack if left untreated for an extended period.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD is the fourth most common disease in Brunei. COPD is an umbrella term used to describe lung diseases including persistent bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. This disease is described by people who suffer from it as an increased feeling of breathlessness, wheezing and tightness in the chest.

One of the reasons for this disease being so common in Brunei is due to some people who smoke tobacco products on a regular basis in the nation. When last measured in 1988, around 20 percent of individuals over the age of 16 smoked tobacco products regularly. Even though this common disease in Brunei is preventable, many inhabitants of the nation choose to continue to smoke tobacco, making it difficult to decrease the prevalence of COPD.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

CKD is the seventh most common disease in Brunei, and between 2005 and 2015 its prevalence increased a shocking 30.6 percent. CKD is a blanket term for a variety of illnesses that damage a person’s kidneys and decreases their ability to filter toxins from the blood. Without toxins being eliminated from the blood properly, people who suffer from CKD often develop complications like high blood pressure, anemia and nerve damage. If left untreated, this disease can lead to premature death.

The Takeaway

Highly developed nations often suffer from high rates of preventable disease. IHD, COPD and CKD are all common diseases in Brunei, which are all avoidable given an individual takes the proper steps to live an active and healthy lifestyle. With more information about these diseases being released on a daily basis, these common diseases in Brunei are sure to see a fall in the number of people they kill.

Nicholas Beauchamp

Photo: Flickr

Top Diseases in Chile
The top diseases in Chile are primarily noncommunicable and reflect the development and increased urbanization of the country, currently at 89 percent.

One of the most concerning issues in Chile is the high level of income inequality. Chile is the only South American country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; however, nearly 15 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Poverty is closely linked with noncommunicable diseases, and high levels of NCDs increase household healthcare costs and hinder efforts to reduce poverty levels. Those in poverty are more likely to use tobacco and have unhealthy diets. The long and expensive treatments associated with NCDs deplete household resources and those in poverty die at a much higher rate due to NCDs compared to their wealthier counterparts. Below are three of the of the top diseases in Chile.

Top Three Diseases in Chile

  1. Ischemic Heart Disease: Ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary heart disease, is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart, often resulting in a heart attack. Some risk factors — such as being male and older — are hereditary. Others that are modifiable behaviors include tobacco use, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and physical inactivity.In 2008, 30 percent of deaths in Chile were due to ischemic heart disease. Through initiatives like the Go Red for Women Campaign, heart disease-related deaths have declined to only eight percent in 2012, though it remains a leading cause of death in the country.
  2. Diabetes: Combined with cardiac disease, diabetes is estimated to be responsible for half of all deaths in Chile. Diabetes causes the most death and disability combined of all diseases in the country and is therefore considered one of the top diseases in Chile to address.In 2003 only 4.2 percent of the population was diagnosed with diabetes; in 2015 that percentage rose to nearly 10 percent. Gestational diabetes has also increased from one percent in 2003 to five percent in 2015. Public health officials in Chile cite being overweight as a major contributor to the rise of diabetes. The cost per person for diabetes care is approximately $1,500. With high levels of income inequality and the disproportionate impact of NCDs on low-income populations, this high cost and rising prevalence are major concerns.
  3. Ischemic Stroke: Ischemic stroke occurs when a clot obstructs blood flow to the brain, a result of atherosclerosis — the hardening of the arteries due to fat deposits. The risk of stroke can be reduced through increased physical activity, improved diet, weight loss and stopping tobacco use. Deaths due to stroke in Chile are on the rise; as of 2012, they were the leading killer in Chile, accounting for nine percent of all deaths. While heart disease and diabetes are the focus of Chilean public health efforts currently, the rise of ischemic stroke cannot be ignored.

The most common risk factors for death and disability are dietary risks, high blood pressure, obesity and alcohol and drug use. All these risk factors are modifiable behaviors, and all are large contributors to the three top diseases in Chile. Additionally, almost 30 percent of the population is overweight. Of those individuals over 15 years of age, 76 percent are overweight or obese.

A positive note is that many of the leading causes of death and disability in Chile require similar lifestyle changes – reduction in tobacco usage, increased physical activity and healthier eating habits. Finding effective interventions that promote lifestyle modifications can contribute to the reduction of many of the top diseases in Chile. While Chile implements a tax on tobacco, the only country in the Americas to do so, 39 percent of the population still engages in tobacco use. A comprehensive tobacco law passed in 2013 bans all tobacco advertising, including at the point of sale, as well as requires tobacco prevention education at every level of schooling. The long-term impact of these laws in addition to the tax is to be determined.

To promote healthier eating habits, in 2016 Chile was the first country in the world to require that warning labels be placed on foods high in salt, fat, or sugar content. These labels are in the form of black stop signs, designed to make them more reader friendly. Additionally, items required to be labeled are not permitted to be sold to children under 14 years of age or sold with toy incentives. These items are also not allowed to be sold for purchase in or near schools.

To combat some of the top diseases in Chile, the country is focusing on broad public health measures, particularly those that target the younger population. The country is clearly thinking far ahead, focusing not just on treating diseases currently affecting the adult population, but also attempting to prevent the rise of NCDs as the younger population ages.

Nicole Toomey

Photo: Flickr